“By reducing wasted food in landfills, we cut harmful methane emissions that fuel climate change, conserve our natural resources, and protect our planet for future generations.”, Composting can help reduce the landfill methane problem by keeping some organic material out of the trash. “Topsoil levels in the U.S. are dangerously low due to erosion and very little is being replaced.”. Kerry Kelly, senior director of federal affairs for Waste Management, says it’s simply not possible to accurately assess methane leakage. You can paste it directly into the WYSIWYG editor of your site. Landfills go through various stages: open, open with a cover that still lets in some oxygen, and closed with an impermeable seal. Show your support for nonprofit journalism! Natural gas comprised 29 percent of the U.S. electricity mix in 2012 … However, methane in the atmosphere is a greenhouse gas. Because methane is the main component of natural gas, it can be captured and burned for energy with a much lower climate impact than letting it seep out. Natural gas production is up while carbon emissions are down, and the industry’s big steps forward in reducing methane emissions are having a broad and positive impact. Municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills are the third-largest human-generated source of methane emissions in the United States, releasing an estimated 92.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent (MMTCO2e) to the atmosphere in 2017 alone. Controlling methane emissions is not only about environmental health and safety – it’s also good economics. For 20 years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has required some landfill operators (generally those with larger facilities) to control methane emissions by installing gas collection systems. Because leading companies are working hard to continuously improve their environmental performance by developing new technologies, collaborating with other companies and colleagues, and implementing best practices that will bring these emissions down to nearly zero. If you value our work, please show your support today. Last year the EPA and U.S. Department of Agriculture set a target to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2030, with programs for public education and commercial policies. And now, new industry programs are bringing companies together to share information and take actions that reduce methane emissions further and faster than ever before. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, methane emissions from the energy sector decreased 14 percent from 1990 to 2016, while natural gas output increased by more than 50 percent during the same period. But by the time a landfill is sealed, it has released most of the methane it is going to. By the time a landfill is sealed, it has released most of the methane it is going to.When a landfill is open to receiving more trash, it doesn’t have a seal, making the vacuum draw somewhat ineffective. Since the start of these EPA programs, U.S. energy partners have implemented approximately 150 new technologies and practices and eliminated nearly 1.39 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of methane emissions. Photo © iStockphoto.com/cjp. Because methane is the main component of natural gas, it can be captured and burned for energy with a much lower climate impact than letting it seep out.After capture, the gas can be processed and used in different ways. U.S. industrial electricity costs are lower than those of our foreign competitors, giving manufacturers – including producers of steel, chemicals, refined fuels, plastics, fertilizers and numerous other products – a major competitive advantage. Accurately evaluating landfill gas (LFG, mainly methane) emissions from base case landfills is critical to conducting a WTE life-cycle analysis (LCA) of their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The EPA estimates that landfill gas energy projects capture roughly 60 to 90 percent of the methane emitted from the landfill, depending on system design and effectiveness. For the same amount of energy produced, burning natural gas emits significantly less CO2 into the air than other fossil fuels. At the beginning of your post, please attribute the writer and Ensia as the original source and link to the Ensia article. What’s more, the methane mitigation industry has taken off over the past six years, leading not only to cleaner air, but also to high quality jobs in a growing field. These operating realities mean that “gas collection doesn’t work when the gas is generated, and it does work when no gas is being generated,” said Anderson. U.S. landfills released an estimated 148 million metric tons (163 million tons) of CO. By the time a landfill is sealed, it has released most of the methane it is going to. Sign up now for our bi-weekly newsletter and you'll get the latest stories from Ensia delivered straight to your inbox. The United States had the highest total quantity of methane emissions from landfills in 2010: almost 130 million metric tons (143 million tons) of CO2 equivalent. While these facilities can stand alone, they are increasingly being incorporated into wastewater plants that treat sewage. With some 40 percent of all food wasted in the United States, reducing food waste offers big opportunities. Because it’s a sealed system, it’s easier to capture methane for energy generation than at landfills. These results showed that the updated … The agency claims the move will reduce methane emissions by 8.2 million metric tons (9 million tons) of CO2 equivalent a year beginning in 2025, approximately equal to taking 1.7 million cars off the road for one year. Municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States, accounting for approximately 14.1 percent of these emissions in 2017. “If you are running your composting facility well, you shouldn’t have a lot of methane emissions,” says Kelly. Why? More and more cities, such as San Francisco and Seattle, are moving in this direction. In other words, reducing these emissions is important because methane fuels global warming in the short term. Methane is the primary component of natural gas. Natural Gas Should Be Cleaner. But despite a record-setting over the last three decades, the amount of methane emitted into the atmosphere during natural gas extraction continues to drop. Replacing existing pneumatic controllers with low- or zero-bleed alternatives will nearly eliminate a major source of emissions, optical gas imaging (OGI) infrared cameras, programs administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, reduced emissions completions, or “green completions.”, the methane mitigation industry has taken off over the past six years, leading not only to cleaner air, but also to high quality jobs in a growing field. All energy sources have an environmental effect; from the space they take up to emissions produced throughout their life-cycle. October 25, 2016 — We take out our trash and feel lighter and cleaner. “You can measure how much gas you’re collecting. In some cases, it’s not put to beneficial use but is burned off to convert the potent methane to less intense global warming emissions. But at the landfill, the food and yard waste that trash contains is decomposing and releasing methane, a greenhouse gas that’s 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide.